2012.

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It’s almost 2012. I’m not quite sure I know what happened to 2011.

I know it’s tradition to start a list of resolutions, you know, so you feel good as you start a new year. It’s a lot like that feeling I’d get back in college, when I’d list all the classes I had tests for and then right beside each one, set a time to study. I never really followed that list, but it made me feel good while I was making it. It made me feel responsible, like I was doing something about the future. But it also reveals how predictable I am when it comes to making lists. Yea, I never follow them.

Which is why I won’t bother making a list. It’s not like I don’t have anything to work on. I have a lot. But a list of things I promise to do and probably won’t isn’t going to make a difference at all. But—I’ve got an idea…

2011 was filled with mountains and valleys. And, if I’m honest, I spent a lot of time in the valleys. At times, my own foolhardy steps led me there. At times the ground just gave way, and after the dust settled, I found myself staring up from a chasm so deep I never thought I’d find my way out. But my God is faithful. A glimmer of home always shone through—just enough to give me hope, no matter how flimsy.

So 2011 was tough, but it wasn’t a complete waste. Because of many things that happened, more truths sank into my thick skull and embedded themselves in my brain. Truths like:

 

Keep your bleachers clear. While accepting that good advice can come from anyone, allow only the people you trust or respect to have a say in what you do and how you feel.

 

Sticks and stones hurt less, and yet, there is a way to avoid reliving the searing pain of words: don’t dwell on them. If you wake up at night hearing your worst critic’s condemnation, turn up the volume of truth and grace. And turn it toward yourself.

 

Faith over clarity. I suspect I’ll never fully understand why life can be so lopsided. And I’ll never stop asking why babies die of hunger, why women and children suffer abuse from those who are supposed to protect them, and why church-goers take so much pride in their spotless carpets or latest church fashions. Choosing faith over clarity means accepting God is still in control, and He holds all the answers. It keeps me sane.

 

Accept that you might have to finish with the stragglers, but determine to finish well. I’m a procrastinator. In fact, I excel at it, needing the drumbeat of a deadline before I can work and be satisfied with what I have done. So I probably will be coming in with the last of the pack–those who continue to put one foot in front of the other despite knowing the race is almost over and the winners are celebrating at the finish line. {The truth is, we may all share the same track, but each person’s race looks mighty different from the other. And since the same race rules apply to all, it is perhaps best to spur each other onward based on these rules, and not the ones we made up.}

 

If I could somehow find a way to apply all these to 2012, or even a bit of each one in every situation I walk into, I can almost predict a better year. And yet, while I do ask God if He can stop some of the tougher things from happening, I already know an easy life has never been promised to me.

So once again, I’ll hold on to faith to keep my head above water, grace to rest my feet upon against the raging pull of the tide and the promise of home to keep my wandering eyes fixed on His way. And I wish you all a wonderful 2012, with just enough challenges to keep you trusting and just enough joys to keep you humble. Happy New Year!

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